A New Covenant 2019
Baptism into the New Covenant
Last time I preached, I listed seven blessings of being in the New Covenant. Let’s quickly go through them again…
--Identity– In the covenant we know who we are. We are the children of God. “Who are you?” This is a wonderful blessing.
--Purpose– We have the precious gift of purpose. We are called to advance His Kingdom. “What are you doing?” This is a marvelous blessing.
--Immunity– We have accident forgiveness. Sin is forgiven in the New Covenant. This is an excellent blessing!
--Holy Spirit – We are the temple of God. God dwells with his people. This is a spectacular blessing.
--Protection– Nothing can take us from the love of God. This is a comforting blessing.
--Conformity to Jesus – He’s still working on me. This is an enormous blessing.
--Life– Life now and forever! This is a precious blessing.
We are like a kid who got too many gifts on Christmas morning. We have too many gifts! These blessings are found inside of the New Covenant.
This morning, I am going to explain how to get to these blessing the covenant. “Hey, I want to receive these wonderful blessings. How to I enter the covenant?” I am going to advocate this morning that baptism enters the covenant. These blessings are IN the covenant. Baptism translates us into the New Covenant.
My goal this morning is to be as clear as I can about how baptism moves us into the relationship of the New Covenant. The best way to explain something big is to use… metaphors. Let me bounce a variety of different metaphors off you to explain how baptism functions to transform us into covenant. Let’s see which of these metaphors stick.
Metaphor #1 - Baptism is like becoming a citizen of a new country.
There are two ways to become a citizen of the United States. You can be born into the country. Or, if you are a citizen of another country, there is a process by which you can become a citizen.
Let’s focus on the last step. Be willing to take an “Oath of Allegiance”. After meeting the other requirements there is a ceremony. They raise their right hands. They repeat a long list of commitments, including…Support the Constitution; renouncing citizen in other countries; defending the country in the armed service, if necessary; agreeing to perform work of national importance when required! It is an impressive list. At the end the are citizens. They were something else… at the last oath they are a citizen of the US of A.
Baptism is like this. There is an oath that changes citizenship. That oath creates the reality of a new covenant! It is ceremony. It is celebration. It is entering into a new kingdom!
1 Corinthians 6:9-11Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Baptism is like… taking an oath to become a citizen of a new country!
That sticks. Metaphor #2…
Metaphor #2 - Baptism is like being adopted into a new family.
There are two ways to enter a family. You can be born into a family… not much choice as to which family. Or, you can be chosen for adoption into a family.
Once again, there is a process. A family finds a kid. A kid stays with a family or is in foster care or some adoption agency jumps through hoops to get a kid placed with a new family. But at some point, there is a covenant created.
Once again, let’s focus on the last step. After ten weeks the prospective parents apply for an Adoption Order. The court issues the Adoption Order. The new parents take an oath. A Birth certificate is issued. And then there is an oath ceremony.
Baptism is like being adopted.
Galatians 3:26-4:7…for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise... But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So, you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
We, in the New Covenant, are adopted into the family of God. We call God… Father. We know Jesus become a brother to us. We are adopted by the Spirit to be in this precious family. Baptism is the judge banging his gavel and announcing you are now an official member of a new family. A covenant is created through an oath. There is ceremony. There is celebration.
Baptism is like… being born again in the family of God!
Two for two; sticking. Metaphor #3
Metaphor #3 - Baptism is like a funeral. “What?”
The major point I am making throughout this year is… Jesus’ death on the cross cuts the New Covenant. Jesus said in the upper room, about his death, “This is the blood of the New Covenant.” We have discovered that covenants, throughout the Bible, are made with the shedding of blood; by sacrifice; by death. Biblical covenants are form by taking oaths and then honoring them with sacrifice.
Here is the beauty of baptism. Jesus created the new covenant with his death on the cross. The death of God, himself, cut the New Covenant. The beauty of baptism is that we enter the covenant by doing what Jesus did… we die. We enter the New Covenant by death. We cut the covenant just like Jesus… we die.
That would be problematic; literally. But we do this spiritually.
Romans 6:3-4Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death…
We are buried into his death. Going down under the water is like being buried.
Thus, baptism is like a funeral. At a funeral you honor the one who died. In baptism we honor the one who died for us. We commit to be like the one who died for us. We remember Jesus. We honor Jesus. We obey Jesus.
The ceremony of baptism is like a funeral where we obey Jesus. The simplest way to view baptism is… Baptism obeys Jesus. Baptism honors Jesus death!
Romans 6 continues with the opposite metaphor.
Metaphor #4 - Baptism is like a new birth day.
Romans 6:4-10We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his… Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
We don’t stay under the water in death. Instead, we come out of the water. We are born again. We get a new life. We get a new birthday.
Jesus talks about it this way to Nicodemus…
John 3:3-7Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'”
Baptism is a new birthday. We all like birthdays… Baptism is like blowing out candles. It is like having cake. It is ceremony. It is celebration. It is new birth.
We have stuck 4 metaphors…
Metaphor #5 - Baptism is like a wedding
Many of us are married. Most of us, when we got married had a ceremony. I remember ours… at least parts of it. My memories are like this photo; fuzzy. We fell in love. We dated. We got engaged. We had a ceremony. On the 28thof June, 1974… we were married.
--In that ceremony we took oaths.
--We exchanged rings to honor those oaths.
--We signed a Marriage License…
--When that license was filed at the courthouse in Jacksonville, AK, a covenant was created that has bound us together for…low these many years.
Baptism is like a wedding ceremony. It creates a binding covenant. We make promises. We commit to be the bride of Christ.
Ephesians 5:25-27Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Baptism is like a wedding ceremony… it enters the New Covenant.
Those are our metaphors that explain baptism. Let’s gather up all these metaphors that have stuck to the wall. Let’s examine the key elements.
Becoming a citizen of a new country, being adopted into a new family, honoring someone at a funeral, being born again, getting married have several things in common…
--They involve certificates… Because these create covenants they are accompanied with certificates.
--They involve commitments… When the oaths are taken there are promises made… be a loyal citizen, be a good parent, honor the memory, be a faithful spouse.
--They involve ceremonies… Each of our metaphors has ceremonies with all kinds of symbols. Ceremonies are important. They mark changes. They serve as reminders. They actively communicate the reality of the covenant created!
--They involve witnesses… These metaphors are shared with community. Witnesses sign the wedding certificate. Birthday parties are marked by witnesses. Witnesses are there to help us remember.
--They involve celebration… These metaphors are celebrated. Even the funerals are most often I time to rejoice at the life of another.
Baptism has all these key elements…
--Baptism creates covenants… it should have a baptism certificate.
--Baptism is a commitment to be a good citizen of the kingdom; an obedient child of God; it honors the death of Jesus; it is a commitment to be a loyal kid; a faithful spouse. Baptism is not a box to be checked for fire insurance. Baptism is a pledge to serve our LORD! When we enter the New Covenant there is a promise to be… our best for Him!
--Baptism is a ceremony. It is a valuable ceremony. It is not just a ceremony. It is a precious thing! It something you should remember the rest of your life. It is something you should be intentional for. It is something you make special!
--Baptism involves witnesses. I know you don’t have to have many witnesses. But to me, the more, the better. Witnesses join in the commitments. Those who are witnesses bear some responsibility to help the one being baptized. Witnesses honor the one being baptized!
--Baptism is a celebration. It is a time to enjoy! It is a time to party.
Baptism is like becoming a citizen of a new country… the kingdom of God!
Baptism is like being adopted into a new family… The household of God.
Baptism is like honoring someone at a funeral… We obey Jesus!
Baptism is like being born, again… We are children of God!
Baptism is like getting married… We become the bride of Christ!
Baptism is a precious gift from God!
September 29, 2019
Los Alamos Church of Christ